Local Firefighters, Workers Head To East TN

Posted at 7:44 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 22:39:39-05

Firefighters from several mid-state fire departments have sent teams to East Tennessee to help in response to the massive wildfire that killed three people.

The agencies that sent crews included Nashville, Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet, Clarksville, Goodlettsville, La Vergne, and others.

A Nashville Fire Dept. spokesperson said Sevier County requested an additional 80 vehicles from across the state to fight the wildfires threatening Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Nashville sent 14 firefighters and paramedics, along with an ambulance and two fire trucks.

District Chief Tim Moyers got the call Tuesday morning. His team is dropping everything for up to three days to help.

"It's overwhelming, but we're used to doing this," Moyers said, "that's why we have an incident command structure to help us deal with large scale events like this."

Across town, Sarah Basel with the Red Cross was also heading out Tuesday morning.

"We've kind of had our eye on these wildfires for the last couple of weeks," she said.

She's going to handle media coverage over the shelters, volunteers and any information requests the East Tennessee team can't get to within it's workload.

"We provide three hot meals a day to those people, we provide cots and blankets for them to sleep on and we also have volunteers offering mental and emotional support," Basel said.

She says other volunteers may be called from Nashville soon.

Everyone involved says they're happy to go. Because while the wildfires aren't physically touching the Mid-State, this disaster touches everyone in Tennessee.

"It's just cities helping cities, it's what we do," Moyers said.

The Red Cross says the most effective way to help is to make a financial donation. You can also sign up to be a volunteer.